A Michigan ORV accident lawyer can help if you or someone you care about suffered a serious injury in an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) crash. While driving an ORV is a great source of fun and recreation, it is also is a potential cause for great physical harm and even death.
The Buckfire Law Firm specializes in cases involving ORV accidents. We are the “go-to lawyers” for recreational and off-road vehicle crash cases in the State of Michigan. We can help you recover the maximum compensation after an ORV accident.
- ORV Riding Requirements in Michigan
- What are the Common Causes of ORV Accidents?
- Types of ORV Accident Injuries
- Can I Sue for an ORV Accident in Michigan?
- Can I get Michigan No-Fault Benefits for an ORV Accident?
What is an ORV?
The State of Michigan classifies an ORV as a motor-driven, recreational vehicle capable of driving on a range of terrains not limited to roadways and trails. Types of off-road vehicles under this definition include but are not limited to:
- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
- Motorcycles or related 2-wheel, 3-wheel, and 4-wheel vehicles
- Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) and other 4×4 vehicles
- Amphibious machines
- Ground-effect, air-cushioned vehicles such as hovercrafts
ORV Riding Requirements in Michigan
In Michigan, an ORV operator and passenger must always wear a USDOT-approved crash helmet. There is also a requirement that every ORV be equipped with a functional braking system, throttle, spark arrestor, muffler, and functioning lights. There must also be a seat for each person on the vehicle and shared seating is not permitted.
Children under the age of 10 years old are prohibited from driving an ORV. Operators under 16 years old must take an approved ORV safety education course and obtain a safety certificate. All operators under 16 years old must be supervised by an adult while driving an ORV.
Where can I Ride an ORV in Michigan?
In Michigan, there are more than 4,000 miles of state-designed and approved trails and routes for operating an ORV. This includes many scramble areas, county roads, public water surfaces, and even some national forest roads.
There are three designated types of state-designated ORV trails, including:
- Motorcycle-only trails maintained at a 24″ width.
- ORV trails maintained at a 50″ width.
- ORV routes maintained at a 72″ width.
Scramble areas include Silver Lake State Park, Holly Oaks RV Park, Black State Forest Campground, Bull Gap, St. Helen Motorsport Area, and The Mounds ORV Park.
In addition, there are state-designated forest roads for driving an ORV.
Many people prefer to drive an ORV on private property, like their farm or on open land, usually with the permission of the property owner. Occasionally, an ORV is driven on a public road or highway in rural areas as a means of travel or to get from one property to another property for recreational riding. Catastrophic injuries often occur when an ORV is struck by a motor vehicle, like a car or truck driving at a fast speed on a street or highway.
Michigan Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Crash Statistics
The State of Michigan tracks ORV crash statistics every year. The number reached an all-time high of 436 crashes in 2021. The month of July 2021 recorded the highest number of crashes (71) and most crashes occurred between 3:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
The number of ORV fatalities rose 40% from 2020 to 2021. Over 95% of ORV deaths were reported as males. Most deaths involved riders between the ages of 35-44.
What are the Common Causes of ORV Accidents?
There are several common causes of ORV injury accidents. In most cases, the cause of the crash is operator negligence in the operation of the Off-Road Vehicle.
The most common causes of an ORV accident in Michigan are:
- Reckless driving
- Operating an ORV under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperience of the driver in operating an ORV
- Lack of training of the ORV operator
- Maintenance issues with the vehicle
- Defects with the ORV itself
Our experienced Michigan ORV accident lawyers will fully investigate the cause of your crash. We will hold the at-fault party accountable for the harm caused by their negligence or reckless conduct and get you the maximum possible settlement.
Types of ORV Accident Injuries
The injuries suffered in an ORV accident are often serious and even catastrophic. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, closed-head injuries, and concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and orthopedic fractures
- Burn injuries and permanent scarring
- Shoulder injuries, like a torn rotator cup
Can I Sue for an ORV Accident in Michigan?
There are many situations in which you can sue for an ORV accident in Michigan. You can sue another ORV operator that recklessly crashes into your vehicle or the driver of a motor vehicle that hits your ORV on a public road or highway.
If you were a passenger injured in an ORV crash, you can sue the operator of the vehicle you were riding on if that driver was negligent and caused the accident. You can also sue the operator of another ORV or vehicle involved in the crash.
If a minor is injured in an Off-Road vehicle accident, a parent can sue the owner of the ORV if the child was not properly supervised at the time of the accident.
The Buckfire Law firm has also pursued cases against an ORV company for manufacturing and selling a defective vehicle under a product liability theory. These cases are filed when an injury or death is the result of a defective ORV, including braking issues and fires causing burn injuries.
Can I File a Lawsuit for an ORV Accident Death?
If a family member was killed in an ORV accident, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Cases can be filed against the owner and operator of the vehicle, as well as any adults who were negligent in the supervision of minors driving an ORV.
In addition, a lawsuit can be filed against the drivers of any cars, trucks, or other vehicles that cause a crash with an Off-Road Vehicle. In some cases, a property owner can be sued if the crash occurs on private property due to a defective condition or hazard on the property.
How Much can you Get in an ORV Accident Settlement?
The amount of an ORV settlement depends on the particular facts of each case. In most cases, the settlement payout includes money compensation for pain and suffering, mental distress, fright and shock, and physical disability. In addition, claims are made for medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial losses incurred by the victim and family.
For cases involving a wrongful death, the compensation is for the pain and suffering the victim endured from the time of the accident until the death. Compensation is also paid for the loss of the society and companionship suffered by the surviving family members due to the death. Other damages include medical expenses, loss of income and support, and funeral expenses.
Can I get Michigan No-Fault Benefits for an ORV Accident?
You may be eligible for Michigan no-fault benefits if the crash involved a motor vehicle, like a car or truck, on a public street or roadway. Benefits include payment of medical bills, lost wages, attendant care services, and other benefits.
For an ORV crash that occurs on a trail or land with another ORV or even a single vehicle accident, you are not entitled to no-fault benefits. You can still claim these damages in a civil lawsuit or claim against a negligent operator or person failing to supervise a ride.
Examples of Our Michigan ORV Accident Settlements
- $1,250,000 settlement for a young woman struck by a negligent and reckless ORV operator on a trail in Midland County, Michigan
- $470,000 settlement for a husband and wife hit by a pickup truck while operating their ORV on the sand dunes in Michigan.
- $365,000 settlement for a child who suffered serious injuries while unsupervised by the ORV owners on their property.
Who Pays the Settlement in an Off-Road Vehicle Accident?
The settlement in an ORV accident is typically paid by the insurance company for the negligent operator or owner of the vehicle. Most owners and operators have separate insurance policies for these vehicles and many also have umbrella policies that provide even higher insurance policy limits to pay the settlements.
Contact a Michigan ORV Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you care about was injured in an ORV accident, you should contact the Buckfire Law Firm today to start your case. We have the skill, experience, and resources to win you the maximum settlement in your case. We have helped people like you since 1969.
Best of all, we charge no lawyer fees unless you receive a settlement. It costs absolutely no money to start your case. And, if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing.
We put that in writing for you!
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